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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old October 20 2012, 01:05 AM   #46
RandyS
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

Grant wrote: View Post
I happen to think that TOS is the best American sci-fi series until 1985 (which is a date I just plucked from thin air)

What do other people here think?

If you think TOS was the best sci-fi series up to that time then say what your runner-up is....

if you don't--what is your choice?

Lastly, if you want to say an anthology show like Outer Limits etc.--fine, but also list your choice for 'non-anthology'


By the way, my runner-up is: The Invaders---(IN COLOR!!)
I think that you and Greg are both right. For me, TOS is the best sci-fi series from that era (but I'm biased in that direction), and I would definately put the original Twilight Zone as number two.

But, I also like all four of the Irwin Allen shows, so what do I know?

And, since you picked 1985 as the cutoff date I want to add the original Battlestar Galactica and the Gil Gerard Buck Rogers to my list. Niether are as good as TOS, but I thought both were fun shows.

I see you also like The Invaders. That's one that I only have a passing familiarity with, but was thinking of getting the DVD's. I assume you recommend it?
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Old October 20 2012, 01:34 AM   #47
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

I can't recall seeing much of Twilight Zone but I can accept it as first or second. However after (say) TOS and TZ, I always liked Planet of the Apes.


MacLeod wrote: View Post
... As for British Sci-Fi shows from the same era upto 1985, there are plenty to choose from. But really only one has had the staying power. Whilst some have remained in the public mind others have faded away

Doctor Who
The Prisoner
Terrahawks
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
The Invisible Man
Survivors
The Tomorrow People
The Tripods
Doomwatch
Time Slip
Space 1999
Sapphire and Steel
Blake's 7
The Day of The Triffids
Department S
Thunderbirds
Fireball XL5
Joe 90

I could go
And

Harvey wrote: View Post
[... Given that the standard-bearer of TV sf from the 1970s is probably Space: 1999, ... .
I just want to say one thing: AHEM!
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Old October 20 2012, 05:05 AM   #48
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

I don't see the reason for the automatic qualification of "until 1985". That's really damning Trek with faint praise, isn't it? For one thing, there were hardly any serious, legit, American SF series before 1985. Stacking original Trek up against a dozen tacky (but sometimes fun) space adventure shows, some meant more for children probably, sort of misses the point of what Trek is. Is it better adult science fiction drama than Land of the Giants? Well of course, let's move on...
Original Trek is clearly the best for me, no time limit necessary. The only real competition would be Babylon Five, DS9 and Outer Limits. Honorable mentions to The Invaders and year one of Lost In Space, and Time Tunnel.
Talking about British shows, 1970s Dr Who and Blake's Seven were brilliant, and year one only of Space:1999. Eliminate that second season of Sp:99 (which on its own would be in the running for worst SF series ever...) and you have SF just as it needs to be done on television. It's about time hasty viewers stopped dismissing year one, just because they associate it with that bastrdized second season.
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Old October 20 2012, 09:51 AM   #49
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
In terms of surpassing Trek TOS? No.
None of the series I listed surpass its influence, nor (I'd say) the quality of their characters. But in terms of the consistency of the series, from episode to episode? I'd say the only series in the lot I named as inconsistent as the original Star Trek (mainly speaking about seasons 2 and 3 here) was The X-Files. The rest have a better track record.

The Twilight Zone is a great series, though, no doubt about it. Even the "bad" episodes attract my full attention in a way that most other series do not.
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Old October 20 2012, 04:37 PM   #50
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

The good and bad merits of a series is up to the viewer and there were some good shows in the '70s at least to me. And as far as British shows go I'm surprised The Prisoner hadn't been mentioned yet.
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Old October 20 2012, 05:08 PM   #51
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

RandyS wrote: View Post
Grant wrote: View Post
I happen to think that TOS is the best American sci-fi series until 1985 (which is a date I just plucked from thin air)

What do other people here think?

If you think TOS was the best sci-fi series up to that time then say what your runner-up is....

if you don't--what is your choice?

Lastly, if you want to say an anthology show like Outer Limits etc.--fine, but also list your choice for 'non-anthology'


By the way, my runner-up is: The Invaders---(IN COLOR!!)
I think that you and Greg are both right. For me, TOS is the best sci-fi series from that era (but I'm biased in that direction), and I would definately put the original Twilight Zone as number two.

But, I also like all four of the Irwin Allen shows, so what do I know?

And, since you picked 1985 as the cutoff date I want to add the original Battlestar Galactica and the Gil Gerard Buck Rogers to my list. Niether are as good as TOS, but I thought both were fun shows.

I see you also like The Invaders. That's one that I only have a passing familiarity with, but was thinking of getting the DVD's. I assume you recommend it?

I do, it ran concurrent with TOS season 1 & 2 and featured many of the same guest actors as TOS and TLZ.

I jusr really like 1960s TV in general. It isn't FX heavy and it really only has 1 recurring character, but I find it very refreashing--just straight up no apologies sci-fi that isn't campy or self conscious.
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Old October 20 2012, 05:44 PM   #52
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

By the way, the only reason I left out The Prisoner, The Twilight Zone, and The X-Files was that the first just wasn't science fiction at all except for that bodyswap episode, and the other two had SF content far less than half the time. X-Files was mostly supernatural with aliens thrown in occasionally. TZ was almost always about creepy, otherworldly, basically magical events. That's why we needed The Outer Limits. the SF version of TZ!

The Prisoner was an abstracted, semi-surreal criticism of humanity and politics and power abuse. Science fiction isn't defined as just "anything sort of strange". I may be wrong about The Prisoner though-- as I think more, science and new technology did figure largely into some stories, even if the science wasn't based on anything real... their various brainwashing techniques for instance.
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Old October 20 2012, 07:19 PM   #53
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

The original Knight Stalker also elements of science fiction thrown in with the horror and fantasy elements. Quark should also get a mention even though it had a very short run.
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Old October 20 2012, 07:29 PM   #54
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

Harvey wrote: View Post
But in terms of the consistency of the series, from episode to episode?
Consistency is not a criterion I place much value on in entertainment or art. I value it more where fast food is concerned - McDonalds is mediocre but edible and entirely reliable from town to town, state to state.

Trek TOS has stories like "The City On The Edge Of Forever," Twilight Zone has stories like "It's A Good Life" - and they only have to ring that bell a couple of times before all of modern Trek, Straczynski, etc. are out of competition notwithstanding the fact that I might know that in week 5 of season three of B5 I was going to get pretty much the same thing I got in week 4.
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Old October 20 2012, 08:20 PM   #55
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
Harvey wrote: View Post
But in terms of the consistency of the series, from episode to episode?
Consistency is not a criterion I place much value on in entertainment or art. I value it more where fast food is concerned - McDonalds is mediocre but edible and entirely reliable from town to town, state to state.

Trek TOS has stories like "The City On The Edge Of Forever," Twilight Zone has stories like "It's A Good Life" - and they only have to ring that bell a couple of times before all of modern Trek, Straczynski, etc. are out of competition notwithstanding the fact that I might know that in week 5 of season three of B5 I was going to get pretty much the same thing I got in week 4.
Every TV series has good and bad eps. so that's not a real comparison.
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Old October 20 2012, 08:27 PM   #56
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

UnknownSample wrote: View Post
The Prisoner was an abstracted, semi-surreal criticism of humanity and politics and power abuse. Science fiction isn't defined as just "anything sort of strange". I may be wrong about The Prisoner though-- as I think more, science and new technology did figure largely into some stories, even if the science wasn't based on anything real... their various brainwashing techniques for instance.
The mind-machine in "A. B. and C." would be a prime example of this. Through some sort of technological means, it visualizes Number Six's thoughts so that Number Two can watch them.
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Old October 20 2012, 08:41 PM   #57
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
Trek TOS has stories like "The City On The Edge Of Forever," Twilight Zone has stories like "It's A Good Life" - and they only have to ring that bell a couple of times before all of modern Trek, Straczynski, etc. are out of competition notwithstanding the fact that I might know that in week 5 of season three of B5 I was going to get pretty much the same thing I got in week 4.
Fair enough. I think you're undervaluing a good portion of the more contemporary shows you mention, but I'm smart enough to know I'm not going to change your mind there.

In any event, it's hard to argue over the quality of episodes like "City on the Edge of Forever" and "It's a Good Life." As far as The Twilight Zone goes, I think there are episodes that are even better, but that only speaks to the incredible quality of that series.

On Star Trek, though, I find myself agreeing with Rod Serling. For every week that the series "rung that bell" as you put it ("The Trouble with Tribbles," "Balance of Terror") there seemed to be a corresponding week that was absolutely dire ("The Alternative Factor," "Spock's Brain").
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Old October 20 2012, 09:01 PM   #58
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

Harvey wrote: View Post
On Star Trek, though, I find myself agreeing with Rod Serling. For every week that the series "rung that bell" as you put it ("The Trouble with Tribbles," "Balance of Terror") there seemed to be a corresponding week that was absolutely dire ("The Alternative Factor," "Spock's Brain").
I agree alternately there's people who like the ones that fans generally don't like and vice versa, this is true for every TV show IMO.
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Old October 21 2012, 04:10 AM   #59
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
Consistency is not a criterion I place much value on in entertainment or art. I value it more where fast food is concerned - McDonalds is mediocre but edible and entirely reliable from town to town, state to state.
Toatally agree, consistency is over-valued. In fact, the most daring series risk falling on their faces occasionally, and sometimes do, but it's the price you pay for pushing your work farther.


JMS did push B5 very far, though, and it wasn't all that consistent. When it was consistently good, though, it was because JMS was writing it all himself.


For me, the last few Next Gen seasons epitomize that "safe", blander consistency. Their priority seemed to be not to make embarrassing mistakes rather than aggressively pushing the show into challenging, unknown areas.



DWF responded to Harley:

I agree alternately there's people who like the ones that fans generally don't like and vice versa, this is true for every TV show IMO.

Yes. In particular, I've always loved "Alternative Factor" as a chilling, flawed gem. In this, we get the inconsistency within just the one episode. Some awkward moments and lines are mixed with a brilliant, imagination-stretching premise and overwhelming sense of scale. It stands out in season one as being so raggedly executed that many viewers are quickly turned off by it. They were pushing themselves hard to get the best AND most consistently great season of SF TV made. They just barely managed to get these masterpieces out on schedule. Give them a break...
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Old October 21 2012, 05:47 AM   #60
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Re: Is TOS the best sci-fi TV American series until 1985?

UnknownSample wrote: View Post
For me, the last few Next Gen seasons epitomize that "safe", blander consistency. Their priority seemed to be not to make embarrassing mistakes rather than aggressively pushing the show into challenging, unknown areas.
There were exceptions: Forces of Nature, Dark Page, Lower Decks, and Relics, just to name a few. But overall, yeah, that was personally my impression of TNG's last -say- two seasons, as well.

---

As to the OP's question. I'm going to concur, from the standpoint of writing (to pick an essential standpoint) that the original The Twilight Zone wins. I must fully disclose, however, that while I've seen most original TZ episodes, I haven't seen them all. What I have seen, though, leads me inescapably to conclude that there is a huge variety of solid, exceptional, moving, and memorable episodes.

Star Trek TOS is very definitely second.

---

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...iction_sitcoms has a list of comedy science fiction shows. Personally, I'd add Get Smart and I Dream of Jeannie to that list.

Interesting also is that Saturday morning/children's shows seem to have been excluded from discussion. To name a few, off the top of my head:

Star Trek—The Animated Series
Land of the Lost
Far Out Space Nuts
The Lost Saucer
Space Academy
Jason of Star Command
The New Adventures of Flash Gordon
Johnny Quest
Ark II
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Super Friends
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